Tag Archives: rapini

Early harvests

I’m having a hard time to adjusting to being sans job this time around. The last time it happened, I had to hurry up and deal with the sale of our old house and all of the packing up, storing, and moving to the next state over, so too much was going on to really feel the break. But this time, I’ve been getting up and going into my home office every day since we’ve lived here and I can’t shake the feeling that I’m slacking off if I’m not sitting at my desk. Though if I sit at my desk and try to do something mildly constructive like write a bit about fiber or put up some ebay listings, I’ll easily forget my train of thought. Or the dog starts to act nutty…

harvest - not a pastry

Or I’ll wander off for a snack and see a paper bag in the kitchen and think maybe I have a forgotten tasty sandwich or chocolate croissant ready to surprise and delight me with deliciousness but then remember it was just some random bit of home improvement I picked up at the hardware store a few hours previously…

But I’m trying to find a new rhythm and hopefully in another week or so things will lean to normal. (Though I started writing this over a week ago, so maybe I’d better hope for another few weeks or so…)

harvest garden full

The garden is finally fully planted and/or germinated. The only total failure so far was fennel, and I’m in a current aphid war in one tomato bed, but not the other, yet.

(The neighbors also just rebuilt their retaining wall near the property line – thanks neighbor, well done!)

May’s dirt is a time of impatience then sudden chaos – one day I’m thinning baby greens…

harvest - fresh greens

And enjoying their first meal-sized portion after N’s culinary intervention:

harvest - greens pasta

And then in a few days, we have a sudden, aggressive bounty of lusty, verdant young adults…

harvest rapini

And we’ll be crowded with green, barely able to keep up, but reluctant to share, for weeks (fingers crossed).

Gardening and unruly dog handling have left my wrists sore, so I’ve done little to no knitting, spinning, and sewing. (Worrying about the dog chewing up or swallowing fiber tools has also curtailed my activities – I can’t leave anything lying about at the ready as I’m wont to do.) But I hit the thrift one last time in the early spring to gather up some yarn-harvestable sweaters before they disappeared for the season.

harvest - bag o sweaters

One was a lovely olive wool/cashmere? blend – I already misplaced the label as that is one of the things I often leave out while unraveling. But I think this might become a Paris Toujours instead of the brown cashmere I’d planned, though I’ve a hundred yards or so less of the olive. This yarn begs for something garter-stitch-squishy though (and I’m thinking of a poncho-like thing in the brown instead… maybe.)

harvest olive yarn

And another was a printed cotton/rayon cardigan. I’d been wanting to play with a printed knit that would turn into variegated yarn, but I hadn’t finished the thought as to what I’d do with it. The kinks remained after washing – likely because of the rayon? but that doesn’t matter too much, since I’ll likely double or triple it with something else or itself. And I can’t accurately count the yardage to save my life…

harvest - printed yarn

The others are wool and wool or cotton blends – I went out of my comfort zone a bit in order to get some interesting yarns and have some wool-free options if I ever get around to selling things (either the harvested yarn or something made from it). And several of these were less than ideal since they were cardigans with cut and stitched buttonholes, so one panel is left on several that will need to be sewn into something, or if I’m desperate, I could still harvest a dozen or so yards between the holes.

(Of course I still have dozens of other sweaters waiting to be unraveled as well, but those are still packed up – much easier to just find new ones…)

 

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From dirt to delicious

We installed a few rain barrels off of our gutters back in April.

N tapped into his Roman ancestral knowledge of aqueduct engineering and rigged a system to flow away from the utility meters and wiring at one corner of the house a barrel down a hill and close to one of the garden gates.

Then it didn’t rain…

Until the first week of June.

(In the meantime we rigged over 200 feet of hoses from a very stupidly placed spigot on the opposite side of the house to the somewhat delicate well and I had more than one fit of anxiety over the whole thing…)

But now the barrels are filled, the garden is going really well (except for a moderate skirmish with the three-lined potato beetle on our too-few tomatillo plants that seems to be under control now thanks to neem oil, and aphids or something on  the eggplant, but I’m not that crazy about eggplant* anyway) and we’ve been able to stuff our gobs from it a bit.

pasta-rapini

I was a vegetarian for most of the 1990s and early 00s and lived in a city that only caught up with food trends (and since far exceeded them) in the last decade or so. Going out to dinner meant getting the same delicious eastern/easternish ethnic thing over and over and over and over again (vegetable lo mein, falafel, veggie korma, etc. ) or something that was often disappointing and not worth it – especially in “Italian” (Italian-American) restaurants where my only option was

pasta primavera.

Those two words in combination are a quick ticket to destroying my appetite.

The veg was almost always out of season, overcooked, under or over seasoned; the pasta was always bland and overcooked, and then there would sometimes be an overwhelming inappropriate flavor – dried herbs or an entire grove’s worth of lemons.

But N recently whipped up a little variation with some baby rapini I just thinned from our dirt, and local veg from a new-to-us organic farm just a couple of miles away, and my faith in the dish is restored.

pasta primavera

(Though I’ll still never order it again in an American restaurant…)

Since then, and after perhaps too much rain, (but I’m not complaining at all, but have had to try to air out the dirt a bit) the whole edible green-goodness has gone gangbusters. That baby rapini went big fast and has replaced our need to purchase any supplemental greens. I’m a bit worried about the zucchini only still producing male blossoms, but there’s still time for the ladies, and the dudes are at least tasty in the interim.

blossom salad

(And I don’t want to jinx it, but we might actually have ripe tomatoes in a couple of weeks which I can’t believe and I’m so excited about, but it almost doesn’t seem real, and it could all utterly fail before then…)

But for not expecting much in the first year of our dirt, I’m exceptionally pleased.

Although weeding and general garden-tending has taken a considerable bite out of my sewing/knitting/puttering time…

*Eggplant Parmesan was also one of the few dishes I could get as a vegetarian, and was most often a disaster, so it killed my taste for the veg all together – I’m only just now warming back up to it, though I’d rather have it grilled or mushed up into baba ghanoush, or baba ghannouj, or babaganouj or however the hell it’s spelled…

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